In the current travel environment of increasingly crowded airports and frequent stories of lost baggage, packing light has become the catchphrase of the day. With travel blogs and online fashion pages full of reasons to carry on only, one product has come up again and again as a way to help get there: Merino wool.
According to the experts, Merino wool products are soft, comfortable, versatile, and can be worn again and again without laundering. Sweaters, T-shirts, and dresses made of fine Merino wool are said to be the stars of suitcases on travels around the world.
While packing light has always been a goal for me, it has become even more imperative in the recent travel climate. I was so intrigued by the stories of how Merino wool pieces could do double and triple duty in a travel wardrobe that I had been actively searching for items to try.
So, I was pleased when the TravelAwaits team reached out to me recently with an offer to try out and review a Merino wool product from Unbound Merino, a company that is known for its understated and timeless T-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, leggings, dresses, and scarves.
With versatility in mind, I chose a classic black, boxy T-shirt. Since I received the shirt, I have been virtually living in it. I’ve worn it out to dinner, around the house, and on two hikes. So far, I have to say the stories have been holding true: It’s soft (not itchy at all), cute, and comfy.
What Is Merino Wool?
Forget your memories of bulky, itchy wool sweaters. Merino wool is not that! A quick online search will turn up numerous descriptions of Merino wool as a superfine fiber that is produced by a breed of domestic sheep originating in Spain.
The Unbound Merino website describes Merino wool as a “miracle of nature” and notes that every fiber of the wool is naturally coated in lanolin, an organic antibacterial that provides a safeguard against mildew, mold, and odor.
Merino wool is known to be finer than regular wool — hence, the non-itchy feel. When I received my T-shirt, I was struck by how light it felt against my skin. The fabric also has a nice stretch to it, enhancing the feeling of comfort.
What Makes Merino Wool Perfect For Traveling?
I have a few standard goals when packing for an extended vacation: The pieces should be wrinkle-resistant, non-bulky, compatible with multiple other wardrobe items, and flattering. Merino wool products seem to check all of those boxes.
Unbound Merino emphasizes its travel-friendliness and calls its pieces “the ultimate travel hack.” Many of the people who post on online travel/fashion websites agree. I’ve read numerous posts in the past year about Merino wool being wrinkle-free right out of the bag. Merino fans also say the shirts and sweaters are equally compatible with casual jeans as they are dressed up with a skirt, jacket, and scarf.
Online posters also rave about their wool shirts being temperature-regulating and sweat-wicking, making them appropriate in both hot and cold climates. I haven’t been able to test my Unbound Merino T-shirt in hot weather yet, but I did wear it on a somewhat strenuous hike in 60-degree Fahrenheit weather in Northern Arizona, and it felt comfortable all along the way.
Another obvious travel benefit is the layering potential. Because my T-shirt is super light, it could easily be layered with an outer sweater or jacket. I’m looking forward to trying it on my upcoming trip to Seattle, where the forecast calls for alternating rain and sunshine.
Why Choose Unbound Merino?
Unbound Merino touts its versatility, high performance, and sustainability, and all of those qualities make it a good choice for Merino wool products.
On the sustainability front, Unbound notes, “Every year, Merino sheep grow a fleece that’s humanely sheared (and mulesing-free) with care — making our clothing all natural, biodegradable, and made from a sustainable and renewable resource.”
I also appreciate the classic style of the Unbound pieces. My one-pocket T-shirt has a slightly boxy fit, which I love, and hits just right at the waist so it can be worn either untucked or partially tucked.
There are numerous other stylish items to try as well. The men’s wear includes a range of tees, hoodies, polos, and sweaters, along with underwear, socks, and scarves. I especially loved the look of the men’s long-sleeve Merino crew, which has a classic sweater appearance and comes in a range of great colors including black, charcoal, navy, and Scottsdale or Sedona rust.
Unbound also has men’s travel pants, which are described as being ultra-light, stretchy, wrinkle-resistant, and super comfortable. The pants are made from machine-washable premium Italian wool and come in sandstone, slate gray, and black.
In women’s fashion, Unbound offers a range of choices that include not just classic tees and sweaters, but dresses, tank tops, and hats and scarves as well.
Along with my boxy pocket tee, I also love the look of the Merino travel dress, a black sleeveless, below-the-knee dress that appears to be flattering on numerous body types. As the description notes, the dress could easily transition from comfy daytime wear to a nighttime ensemble by adding a few accessories and heels. The long-sleeve Merino crew also appears to be a great choice for cold weather, along with the Merino leggings.
I love a great scarf, and Unbound has a beautiful version in black, charcoal, and navy, as well as cute beanies, and a scarf + beanie bundle. The website is offering a range of holiday gift packs for both men and women that include nice selections of tees, long-sleeve shirts, leggings, and beanies.
Overall, I have loved my first foray into Merino wool. My Unbound tee is everything I look for in a shirt — great fit, luxurious feel, and versatility with virtually everything in my closet. It held up well to my hikes, and it also looked great at my dinner out in a nice restaurant. And maybe best of all for a travel item, after wearing it several times, my tee still seems fresh without laundering.
Based on my initial impression, I see my tee and other Unbound Merino wool items becoming staples of my travel wardrobe for years to come.
Shop The Styles
To continue your shopping, check out: